Why further delay in tabling the “Votes for Life ” Bill?

June Wayland, a British citizen resident outside the UK now for ten years, has recently commented via this blog on the government’s proposed “Votes for Life” Bill and is suspicious as to why it was delayed until after the EU Referendum.  She also resents the fact that she will lose her right to vote in five years time and “would be considered [by this fiasco of administration] no longer a British migrant! Now, where would I have gone?”

“I still have a voice, having been a British migrant for ten years (I hate the word ex-pat when everyone else is called an immigrant). However, I resent the fact that after 15 years, I would be considered  no longer a British migrant! Now, where would I have gone?

I also have no doubt that the failure to table the Votes for Life Bill prior to the referendum was deliberate in order to help the Brexit side win.” Since then, many events have occurred that poses questions whether the process was carried out in the correct manner.

It’s no secret that each party that has been in power, works for itself and its members and not us, the general public. I sincerely hope that in my lifetime, improvements are made to remedy this fiasco of administration and for once, think of the people.

I refer also to the Brexit fiasco which will benefit nobody except the ones in power.”

Posted in Voting Rights, Why further delay "Votes for Life""? | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

“Britishness” does not expire after 15 years abroad but your Right to Vote currently will!

Marianne Marsh has recently commented from France that ” my Britishness will not expire after 15 years, but it looks as if my rights will”, despite demonstrating her continuing commitment to the UK by travelling together with her husband to London to cast their votes in person in the EU Referendum.

“I have lived in Paris since I retired in 2007. I opted for postal voting in 2010. I was denied my voting rights by not receiving my ‘postal’ papers until the day after the election, and I gathered that thousands of others, including the armed services on deployment, suffered the same fate. Because of this experience my husband and I travelled to London to cast our votes in person in the EU referendum. No other country sets a ‘use-by’ date for its citizens’ democratic rights. My Britishness will not expire after 15 years, but it looks as if my rights will.”

Let’s hope the “Votes for Life” commitment in the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the 2015 general election will not be forgotten in the rush to “Brexit”.

Posted in Britishness does not expire after 15 years., Expat Brits Retain Interest in UK Politics, Expats still want Votes for Life!, Gov Commitment on Vote for Life, Reminding Government on "votes for Life" | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

British Citizens Overseas – Latest on “Votes for Life” Bill

Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons:

“To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to A democracy that works for everyone: British citizens overseas, a policy statement, published on 7 October 2016, whether increased staff time and resources were a criterion in determining the amount of additional funding to be provided to electoral registration officers in relation to the removal of the 15-year time limit on British citizens living abroad being able to vote in elections.”

Chris Skidmore Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office)

“British citizens living abroad retain strong links with the United Kingdom: they may have family here, and they may plan to return here in the future. Equally, there are many British citizens abroad who have fought for our country, dedicating their lives to our armed services. Their stake in our country must be respected. This Government will not deny them the opportunity to have their say in the way their country is governed. That is why we are committed to introducing votes for life for British citizens living abroad.

The Government estimates that a further 3 million British citizens resident overseas will be enfranchised under the ‘votes for life’ proposals set out in the policy statement published on 7 October 2016. The Government has made initial estimates of how many newly enfranchised overseas electors may register to vote, and will continue to further refine its estimates in light of new data as it becomes available.

The Government acknowledges that initial applications to register to vote from newly enfranchised overseas electors are likely to take longer to process than most other applications. This increase in staff time has been built into the Government’s estimates of the expected costs of this policy measure. The Government is currently seeking feedback from electoral administrators and others on the detail of its proposals and will review them if measures to streamline processes are identified.

The Government is committed to legislating to remove the 15-year rule before the 2020 general election.”

Posted in 2017), Expats still want Votes for Life!, Gov Commitment on Vote for Life, Reminding Government on "votes for Life", Votes for Life Latest (28 Feb | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Brexit: Seven EU – UK Trade Options

This interesting article by Jonathan Peel, who is a member of the EU Employers Group as well as a Business & Trade Consultant, addresses the complexity of any final EU – UK trade deal.

The final outcome might well be unique but there are basically seven broad options for the negotiators to pursue.

brexit-the-employers-group-newsletter-january-2017

The complexities of the trade negotiations might also drag on into 2020 and a general election, by which time if legislation is in place for ” Votes for Life“, all British expats will finally have a chance to have their say!

Posted in EU-UK Trade Deal Options, Exiting EU: Gov. White Paper vs Expats' Alternative, Expat Brits Retain Interest in UK Politics, Expats Right to Vote in 2020, Expats still want Votes for Life!, Reminding Government on "votes for Life" | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Exiting the EU: Government’s White Paper vs Expats’ Alternative White Paper

The Connexion, France’s English-Language Newspaper, reported on 2nd February, 2017 that: 

“In a ‘White Paper’ on The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union, the government says: “We want to secure the status of EU citizens who are already living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in other member states, as early as we can”. “

A copy of the government’s “White Paper” referred to in the above Connexion article can be found here:

The_united_kingdoms_exit_from_and_partnership_with_the_eu_web

In the same issue The Connexion reports on a corresponding counter reaction as:

“Expat campaigners launched an ‘Alternative White Paper’, highlighting the situation of Britons in the EU and asking that strong reassurances be made before article 50 is triggered.”

A copy of this “Alternative White Paper” can be found here:

alternative-white-paper-presented-by-uk-citizens-in-europe

Posted in Exiting EU: Gov. White Paper vs Expats' Alternative | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

British Expats still want “Votes for Life”!

Continuing to remind the British government not to forget the planned “Votes for Life” legislation, despite the pressures of Brexit , here’s a detailed contribution from Susan Kubitz.

Susan is a long-term British expat working with her family in Germany who was shocked not to be allowed to vote in the EU Referendum, and begs the question of  “without my vote, where is my identity as this sort of constructive British European?”

Susan Kubitz writes on

“Before my (German) husband’s hopes of starting up his own electroplating business took us to central Germany (ex-GDR) in the 90’s we lived in Birmingham. We had been able to bring up our children together in Britain because of a successful human rights campaign in 1974. We were euphoric when the Wall came down and felt that German reunification was to a certain extent an expression of the efforts also made by the EU to live together in peace after all the horrors of WW ll. Like other people commenting here we felt we could simply take our two separate nationalities for granted because in any case we both belonged to the EU. My German friends ask me now if I want to become German – but I’ve always believed in reforming things from within. Until very recently I was proud to be British: have been a frequent returner to the UK, am still active as teacher of British English and translator, and like other people on this site I care about Britain. Thank you to the people who have got this site together.”

“It was a shock to find that I was not allowed to vote in the referendum. Had taught an “All about Britain” course at our local University of Technology as part of the Europastudium offered to students as an extra qualification for many years (1996 – 2010), always saying “It’s not a tidy picture but somehow we manage to steer a diplomatic path through all the complex historical relationships without disruption:
– England-Wales-Scotland-Northern Ireland
– Britain-earlier colonies (i.e. USA)
– Britain-ex-Victorian Empire (i.e. Commonwealth in Foreign Affairs and, within Britain,  greater progress on living together multi-culturally than I saw in Germany)
– Britain- EU”.”

“To put my emphatic approval for things like the Erasmus scheme into practice, I have had numerous students from the UK (one was Polish, had lived in the UK since his early teens) here on placement with me or with other local companies. It is not only my own lost vote that grieves me but the loss and destruction of opportunities like this for young people to make friendships within a European Union that has been a channel for co-operative energies.”

“And without my vote, where is my identity as this sort of constructive British European?”

 

Posted in Expat Brits Retain Interest in UK Politics, Expats Right to Vote in 2020, Expats still want Votes for Life!, Gov Commitment on Vote for Life, Reminding Government on "votes for Life" | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Reminding the British government not to forget the “Votes for Life” legislation!

Reminding the British government not to forget the planned “Votes for Life” legislation, despite the pressures of Brexit, here are the latest comments on our sign-up poll from British expats on why they deserve the right to vote:

Richard Bower – 2 weeks ago

“I have lived and worked in France for 38 years, with a French wife and 3 bi-national, bi-cultural and bi-lingual children, of whom I am extremely proud. I have always felt that we were part of an open-minded, tolerant and progressive society, Europe, which allowed me to retain my culturally British identity whilst blending in to my French home. Stupidly I ignored the fact that being disenfranchised 23 years ago effectively put an end to my Britishness in terms of rights. Being European, it didn’t seem to matter. Brexit shows that it did. Belatedly, I now support the movement for votes for expat Brits. I wish I had done so many years ago.”

Jill Conway-Fell – 3 weeks ago

“I have lived and worked in Denmark since I was young, when I was employed at the British Embassy in Copenhagen, after which I was employed by The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.
It has been a source of irritation and anger that I lost my right to vote in the UK, in spite of the fact that I am a first-generation UK citizen, especially in view of the fact that citizens of numerous other EU Member States retain a lifetime vote in their countries of origin.
It is about time that we are granted a vote for life, putting us on an equal footing with others.
Brexit makes it even more imperative that our vote in the UK be restored.
As others have commented, a considerable number of retirees would vote Conservative, so please ensure that immediate action is taken.”

Del – 1 month ago

“Where’s our vote? As a passport holding UK expat whose life will be just as affected as anyone living in the UK then surely I and a couple of million others like me should have been eligible to vote! They omitted a couple of million very interested parties that almost certainly would have stopped this joke of a so called referendum in it’s tracks.

So, where is our vote?”

 

Posted in Expat Brits Retain Interest in UK Politics, Expats Right to Vote in 2020, Gov Commitment on Vote for Life, Reminding Government on "votes for Life" | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment